Why is Change Management critical to an Organization’s growth?
It goes without saying that the most important asset for your business is your people. Given the constant state of flux that businesses manage in response to a fast-moving environment, it comes as no surprise that change will affect your people significantly if left unchecked.
Costly recruitment, time required to ramp up new recruits and deep knowledge about your business lost from departing employees affect the business enough to affect profit and general employee satisfaction over the long term.
Ensuring your business processes and strategies are setup to continuously evolve to remain competitive is known as Organizational Change Management (OCM).
A well-documented change management plan supports a smooth transition and ensure your primary asset (your people) are guided through this change with care and efficiency. Reality tells us that approximately 70% of change initiatives fail due to employees with negative attitudes and an unproductive management subverting the initiative either intentionally or unintentionally. Using a professional OCM consultant does ensure you remain in the winning 30%.
While it seems obvious, defining the change needed and aligning it to business goals is often missed as the first vital step. Articulating change is one thing but conducting a critical review relative to the organizations objectives and performance targets are another. Many businesses fail at this stage to merge strategy with financial support and ethical compliance. What do we need to change and why is this change needed are the two top questions that need to be asked.
Knowing what needs to change and why it needs to happen will then assist in determining the impacts of the change throughout the organization. The effect on each business unit must be assessed and the flow of change through the organizational structure must be reviewed to the individual. You will now have begun your blueprint to define where training and support will be required most in order to mitigate negative impacts. Key questions to ask at this stage include, what are the impacts of change, who is affected by this change the most and how well will this change be received by the organization?
With the identification of the critical areas in the organization that need extra attention, this is now a good time to develop your communication strategy. The most effective means to communicate to the group(s) or individual(s) involved must be defined as well as the timeline for how the change will be communicated. Define the key communication channels, messaging and mediums to be used. How the change is communicated and how the feedback will be managed are critical to this process.
Providing effective training due to the change may be required depending on your business re-alignment. It is important for your employees to be aware that they will receive training, whether structured or informal, skills and knowledge taught, or any other program identified to manage the change rollout process. Whether micro-learning modules, online training or a blended learning approach, they can take the form of anything from a face to face in person session(s) or on the job coaching and mentoring time-slots. Here is where your OCM team will identify what behaviors and skills are needed to meet change targets and how best to deliver them.
Another area of critical importance is how best to provide support, both emotionally and practically for the employees. Delivering the communication and retraining of skills may lead to cuts, redundancies and a restructure that specific employees will need assistance in order to navigate through this period with minimal extraneous stress. Management must be prepared to maintain mentor-ship and an open-door policy. Key areas to define are where will support be most needed and what types of support will be most effective.
Organizational change management is most effective over the long term when it is measured. A structure must be in place to measure the impact of the change, ensure documentation is maintained as well as to evaluate and note unexpected positive and negative situations. The goal is to ensure continued reinforcement related to support and training are in place and lead to increased proficiency across the lines of business. Did the change meet the goals defined at the start, was the OCM process successful and what could have been done differently are all important questions to ask.
Organizational change management is successful when your business and employees learn and benefit from the change moving forward in a positive direction. Formally setting expectations, empowering employees with the tools needed and proactively communicating in order to reduce misinformation are critical. Stakeholder buy-in is more likely if this is delivered properly and commitment is over a longer period despite the initial discomfort of the change.